When we looked at the first 17 verses of Romans, we see Paul declaring the truth of the Gospel.  Prior to Paul’s letter, the Jews had been exiled from Rome. So many of the Christian’s would probably have been gentiles.

As we move into the next part of Romans, we run into something that our culture today, and many Christian churches, have trouble with.  The wrath of God is often put on the opposite side of God’s love.  But if this is how we think, we have to exclude what much of the Bible tells us.  The very reason that Jesus died was to fulfill the wrath deserved for our great sin against God.  So when Paul outlines sin, and many people think of these think it is “doom and gloom”, he always points to the solution in Jesus Christ.

The unbelieving world will try to suppress the truth of our righteousness.  Even this week, a prominent national newspaper used this very passage to infer that Christians would advocate for the murder of those with alternative lifestyles.  The blindness of the world is real.  But God’s wrath is already working.  God’s wrath isn’t the active punishment from Him to people, but God is giving people over to their desires.

But God’s nature is screaming through nature and in the world that He created.  The more that we hear from the scientists who take the microscopic and make it large, and those who take the vast universe and make it small so to study it, the obviousness of design is found in both extremes.  And numerous scientists are trying, devoting their lives, to produce a mathematical formula to explain everything.  And yet the blindness continues because even when their intelligence reveals the intelligence of the universe, they miss the designer of the universe behind the equations.  The acknowledge the power, but they don’t attribute God to that power.

When you begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator, when you begin to give your heart away it will start to effect the other things you do. And God will give you over to your desires.  And those who claim to be wise will end up being fools.  Paul didn’t have the evolutionary argument in his culture.  But he was speaking against the idolatry of replacing God.  This is a bigger concept that not only covers those scientific explanations we hear, but lifestyles, choices, and social morality we see around us.

Therefore God gave them over to their sinful desires.  Paul will say this three times.  Paul will later address some of the different ways that this passage plays itself out in the world.  And it is obvious that we live in a culture like this now.  And that is a tension we have to deal with.  We cannot say that “we believe this, and they believe that” mindset.  There is an eternal consequence that we have to be accountable for.  This is a discussion of truth, absolute truth, meaning that there cannot be “competing truths”.  There are true beliefs, and there are wrong beliefs.

The headlines give a dark reminder.  Suicide rate on the rise, especially in young people. Broken families. Kids who experience, see, and hear things that would absolutely appall us.  The wrath of God is not some sword that he will take us out with.  His wrath is taking a step back, and we swing the sword ourselves destined to destruction.  But He gives us hope (assurance) of salvation.  Jesus bridges that gap between our destruction and God.  It takes our decision to come under His wings and to abide there.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (ESV)

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (ESV)

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (ESV)

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (ESV)